Spaniard expected to move on this summer after troubled season.
Los Angeles Lakers star Pau Gasol has revealed that he would stay with the organisation for Kobe Bryant, but changes are required.
The 33-year-old has enjoyed a successful stint in L.A. but injury woes combined with issues regarding coach Mike D’Antoni’s system and brand of basketball have led to a frustrating campaign this year.
Bryant has spent the majority of the season on the sidelines, which ultimately led to the Lakers missing out on the playoffs and ending just a place above the bottom of the standings in the Western Conference.
Gasol regularly blogs in Spanish, and Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News has translated a poignant part:
“Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one. If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant, I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another tournament and where I can be an important factor in the game….
“I’ve never concealed the fact that (Lakers coach Mike) D’Antoni’s style doesn’t suit my game. Everybody knows this. I don’t know if my decision will be swayed by whether Mike stays or leaves. Obviously, the coach is a very important factor for any team.”
It is still unclear as to whether or not D’Antoni will remain for next season, but it does appear as though his future will impact on Gasol.
The general consensus is that the Spaniard will play in the World Cup in Spain this summer and eventually move on to a team that he is a better fit for as opposed to trying to find a way to become prominent with the Lakers again.
The franchise are undoubtedly going to go through a transitional period as they look to get the right roster in place to compliment experience with youth, and whether or not Gasol forms part of that rebuilding remains to be seen.